Nissan will introduce its first Datsun model in India in the first quarter of 2014, as the automaker offers cheaper cars to fivefold increase its market share in the country.
Nissan will initially sell its Datsun vehicles at its existing Indian dealerships, planning to increase the outlets in the country to 145 from the current 95. The Datsun brand was phased out in 1981, but CEO Carlos Ghosn decided to revive it to increased Nissan’s appeal to customers in Indonesia, India and Russia. Datsun’s rivals in India are Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Nissan plans to increase its market share in the country to 10% by 2016.
“It’s going to be a challenge for Datsun” as Nissan uses the division to bring out entry-level models that can be priced lower than its current cars, said Ammar Master, an analyst at LMC Automotive in Bangkok. “It will take some time for Datsun to build up its brand name” and win drivers away from larger manufacturers.
Nissan plans to increase sales in the Indian market to 100,000 vehicles by March 2014, relying on its smaller vehicles. During the year ended March 31st, minicars and compacts accounted for 75% of India’s passenger-car deliveries. Hyundai controlled 20% of the market, while Maruti took 45%.